Monday, July 16, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Carrot Cupcakes + Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello from San Francisco! I've only been here one day so far, but I find it to be a lovely place and already had a delicious meal. I'll be sure to post about my adventures upon my return. Now, down to business. I will be honest, cause that's how I roll. I neglected this Secret Recipe Club post for far too long. Life got busy and there were so many recipes to choose from that I was paralyzed by indecision!

Instacarrots. Don't judge me. 

Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks (a name which always made me giggle ^_^) was the name of my supersecret blog this month. Man, this girl bakes so much, I dunno how she finds time for it. Anyway, there I was, last minute, paralyzed by indecision, when I remembered the pretty carrots in the fridge from the farmer's market (not the same carrots as these, that would be kind of gross). Luckily, Heather had a recipe for carrot cake, huzzah! Problem solved. 

Carrot cake is awesome. I made a couple adaptations to Heather's recipe, since I consider raisins to be the bane of my existence, and besides, I prefer my carrot cake pure and unadulterated. I employed some Milk Bar whippin' techniques in the cake process, and upped the vanilla in the frosting with scraped vanilla bean. Let me tell you, they were (which, unfortunately, is not a real website or I would link to it). The cake was SO moist, and the frosting, just barely sweet, was perfect for it. Definitely will be coming back to this one. If you have the time, grate your own carrots (or throw them in the food processor if you're lazy like me). I added some purple carrots for color variation! 

Carrot Cupcakes + Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar (I think I used a bit less...I didn't really measure!)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod set aside for future use 

 Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with 12 wrappers. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2-3 more minutes. Scrape down the sides again.
On low speed, stream in the oil. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter and sugar mixture, and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. Don’t rush the process. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, add the flour mixture. Mix for 45-60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add carrots on low speed, only mixing until just incorporated. Remove the bowl, grab a spatula, and run it through the batter, making extra sure everything is combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 22-27 minutes, checking at the 20-minute mark for doneness. I find with cakes, baking time depends not only on how hot your oven cooks, but also on what type of pan you’re using (nonstick, dark, light, etc). Check early and as often as you need to. You want your cake to be done, but you also want it to retain its moisture and not be dry.
When it’s done, it will have risen and puffed, doubling in size, but will remain buttery and dense. At your 20-minute checkpoint, poke the cake edge gently with your finger; the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should not be jiggly. If it’s jiggly, put back in the oven, checking every 3 minutes or so. Cool, and then frost.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes


  1. Oh, those are pretty and sound so good! I know my kids would love those. They always are asking me to make cupcakes!

  2. Beautiful. When in doubt, choose cupcakes. :)

  3. So glad you liked them! I love this recipe. The addition of vanilla bean in the frosting is a good idea-you can never have too much vanilla!

  4. We love carrot cake and I love your swirl in the icing. Looks very cute

  5. Hezzi D always has great recipes. Carrot Cake is one of my favorites. Yours looks amazing.

  6. I had you today for SRC. Thanks for some lovely peach butter.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone. Sorry if i don't reply. Vacation!

  8. I always go for bakes, cupcakes have turned out so well, I love the way you have done the frosting, I baked a carrot cake, still haven't posted, My kids loved it.., addition of vanilla bean in frosting is new to me.., sounds too delicious..

  9. I love, love, the icing job. Beautiful.

  10. Hi Rebecca,
    Those carrots are just beautiful and your cupcakes look awesome. I just love that frosting. Great selection for SRC!
    Miz Helen
    Group B SRC

  11. These were so devious Rebecca, was a great birthday surprise for me too! I had one at work and at the end of the day took the leftovers home, after all it was my birthday LOL! Keep up the good cooking, keep the recipes coming, you will need them when your Dad wins the lottery and opens that restaurant LOL! Take care of Dad and enjoy your vacation, bring him back rested and feeling better! Sandy

  12. That was supposed to say they were delicious not devious! I am typing this on my IPad and it is hard to "hunt and peck" when your not used to it and this thing is changing my words too! Sandy

  13. Wow, these sound amazing...I'll have to mark them to make later.

  14. I love a good carrot cake and this one sounds perfect with the not so sweet frosting. I can't wait to try this out!

  15. I love carrot cake and this looks great!

  16. yum! love those purple carrots too:)

  17. Looks wonderful and I adore carrot cake or cupcakes as the case may be.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my group "A" SRC entry: Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.

    Cook Lisa Cook


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